Yesterday I decided at about 11am that I needed to come back to Switzerland for a re-charge and to clear my head. I arrived at 10pm CH time. It was a bit of a whirlwind day but I do feel better for being out of Oxford. It can get very claustrophobic and skew your perceptions. Little things can seem life-or-death important. Luckily I didn't have much contact time and managed to rearrange what I did have so I could come. I've got to write the first draft of a dissertation-type essay in the next week, so I've got a lot to do while I'm here. Still, it's lovely to see my mum and the dogs.
I made this cake about a week ago. It's a great cake to have about if you're busy and in need of good energy boosts - it's not too unhealthy and is filling. I really love the flavours too.
After I made it, mum tried the recipe too. She didn't have any dark muscovado and the result was very different from mine. Before I left yesterday I had the last slice of mine and then mum gave me a slice when I got here so I had a clear taste test. There's a big difference so make sure you get the proper dark sugar - it's too sweet and loses a lot of flavour without. I don't know how the brown sugar that Joy shows you how to make here would compare but it'd be worth a try. Also, don't refrigerate the cake.
Lemon, Date and Ginger Cake
(barely adapted from BBC Good Food, here)
200g stoned dates
300g dark muscovado sugar
50g grated fresh ginger
zest of 1 lemon
200g self raising flour
250g apple in pea-sized pieces (I used 2 small cox)
couple of chunks of candied ginger, cut up
juice 1/2 lemon
Preheat the oven to 150C. Butter and line a 20 or 24 cm cake tin and place it onto a baking sheet. Put the dates into a small bowl and cover with boiling water while you prepare the rest. Grate the ginger, zest the lemon and peel, core and chop the apple. Put the butter and sugar in a medium-large saucepan and heat until melted and smooth. Turn the heat off and leave to cool for a minute. Drain the dates and chop them - I did most finely then a few slightly bigger chunks. Add the ginger, zest and eggs to the butter mix in the saucepan and beat until combined. Stir in the dates, then the flour, then the apple. Pour into the tin and put it (with the baking sheet) into the oven. Bake for 60 to 75 mins - it should be risen and a skewer should pull out moist crumbs from the centre, not goo. Leave to cool in the tin.
To decorate, I just made up a simple drizzling icing with some lemon juice and an appropriate amount of icing sugar. Good Food used melted white chocolate, which would also be nice. I then topped it with small chunks and slices of candied ginger.
Keeps well wrapped up in cling film for a week on the counter (mine was clingfilmed to a cake stand and still was delicious 7 days on). Apparently you can freeze it without toppings for up to two months, well wrapped.